Upgraded racer sports bigger wings, improved suspension – and will be eligible for Le Mans next year…
By Cam Tait / Wednesday, 15 February 2023 / Loading comments
McLaren hasn’t had a huge amount of success in Formula 1 in recent years and, judging by comments made at the new MCL60 launch earlier this week, things aren’t looking great for 2023, either. Where McLaren has had success, however, is with its customer racing programme, the 720S GT3 scoring victories in major sports car series across the globe since its debut at the 2018 Gulf 12 Hours – which it led for a fair chunk of the race.
The motorsport world never stands still, though, and now we have the next iteration of Woking’s customer racing machine. McLaren says the new 720S GT3 Evo features a host of upgrades designed to make it “accessible to customer outfits and drivers of all abilities”. Presumably, it’s also much faster.
From a visual standpoint, the GT3 gets a new front bumper and splitter, boosting downforce and helping the car handle better in traffic. McLaren has also made it easier to swap the front end out for a new one during a pit stop if shunted, a bit like changing the front wing on a Formula 1 car. Cooling has been improved, too, as have the headlights for better visibility during 24-hour races. The rear wing, meanwhile, features tweaked support struts that make setup changes a little easier, while the gurney is slightly taller to promote downforce. Expect this thing to absolutely fly around twisty circuits like Brands Hatch.
Peel back the carbon body and many winglets and you’ll find “all-new” four-way adjustable Ohlins dampers, which form part of an overhauled suspension layout with redesigned front and rear wishbones. These all contribute to a wider setup window and offer teams more options to stop the tyres from shredding to bits during long stints.
McLaren Automotive’s motorsport chief, Ian Morgan, said: “we’ve maintained a close relationship with our customer racing teams and have incorporated many of their recommendations into the new EVO package, improving consistency of performance and serviceability, which will ensure that the McLaren 720S will continue to set the pace in GT3 racing for many more years to come.”
The 720S is the latest in a series of GT3 races to receive major upgrades over the past 18 months. Both Audi and Lamborghini recently released evolutionart variants of their GT3 cars, while Ferrari and Porsche have introduced all-new models with the 296 GT3 and 992-gen 911 GT3 R respectively. Not only will you be able to see all of these in action in GT series across the planet, but from next year they’ll be eligible to enter the 24 Hours of Le Mans in place of the old GTE category. Does this spell a McLaren Le Mans return? We certainly hope so.
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